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Hurtado Will Run Against Caballero in Dem Battle Royale

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Melissa Hurtado, right, says she's running for re-election in the same district Anna Caballero plans to run in. (GV Wire Composite/Randy Reed)
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State Sen. Melissa Hurtado, a Sanger Democrat, said on Wednesday that she will run for re-election in her home district, pitting her against Senate colleague Anna Caballero in the June 2022 primary.

“For too long, Valley families hadn’t had the kind of leadership they deserved in the Senate and flipping this seat, and getting to work for our families and communities, continues to be one of the proudest moments of my life,” Hurtado, D-Sanger, said in a news release.

“We’ve been in some tough battles and had tremendous success over the last four years, but there is still more work to be done. That’s why I am excited to formally announce my campaign for re-election to the State Senate. I am looking forward to continuing the work we’ve been doing, building on our achievements and doing even more so that every Valley family lives in safe, healthy, and thriving communities.”

Caballero, D-Salinas, announced earlier this week that she would run in Senate District 14, same as Hurtado. The newly redrawn electoral maps combined parts of Caballero’s current SD 12 with parts of the current SD 14.

On Wednesday, Caballero announced the endorsement of civil rights leader Dolores Huerta.

The primary election is June 7. The top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to the November general election.

The filing period runs from Feb. 14 through March 11.

Parra, Fuentes Enter SD 16 Race

The remainder of Hurtado’s current constituents will be in SD 16, which has Kings County and parts of Fresno, Tulare, and Kern counties.

Robert Fuentes, a civil rights attorney, announced he will run in the district out of Porterville, where he grew up.

“The Valley is the food basket of the nation, yet too many Valley families continue to struggle to make ends meet. The Valley deserves better. We deserve better. And we must demand a bigger seat at the table,” Fuentes said in a news release. “I have dedicated my career to fighting for the Valley’s working families. I am ready to continue the fight in Sacramento.”

Fuentes had been living in Fresno previously. He currently serves on the city of Fresno Planning Commission, and ran unsuccessfully for a Fresno Unified school board seat in 2018.

Also on Wednesday, Nicole Parra — who had been campaigning for a Valley congressional seat — announced she is switching races. She served in Sacramento before as a three-term assemblywoman from the Central Valley, 2002-2008.

I’ve always wanted to be able to continue my work in Sacramento on behalf of the families here,” Parra said. “It’s just a perfect fit. So, as soon as (Hurtado) announced she was running up north, I jumped in and the support has been pouring in.”

Parra is currently registered in Bakersfield, but just outside SD 16. She says she will move within the district. Since her last stint in the Capitol, Parra worked in the governor’s office and as a consultant and lobbyist.

Robert Fuentes, above, announced he is running for state Senate. Nicole Parra, below, announced she is running as well. (GV Wire File/Nicole Parra campaign website)

Redistricting Changes the Lines

The new lines were drawn by the independent California Citizens Redistricting Commission, using U.S. Census population data.

Most of Merced and Fresno counties (except north Fresno, Clovis, and the mountain communities), as well as parts of Madera County, will be in the new SD 14. It includes the cities of Merced, Madera, and Sanger, where Hurtado lives.

It does not include Caballero’s longtime home of Salinas. Caballero would have to change her voter registration to live within the district. She does have a residence in Merced, her campaign says, which is within the new SD 14.

Senate District 12, represented by Caballero, is no longer a Central Valley/Central Coast district. Portions of Merced, Madera, and Fresno counties are now in SD 14. Portions of San Benito and Monterey counties will now be in SD 17 — which is not up for election until 2024.

The Caballero campaign says the new SD 14 will have 48% of Caballero’s current constituents and only 28% of Hurtado’s.

With redistricting, SD 12 will now represent north Fresno, Clovis, and wrap around Tulare and Kern counties to include parts of Bakersfield. State Sen. Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, announced she is running for re-election in that seat.

Like Caballero, Grove — who represents the current SD 16 — would also have to change her voting registration to a new district.

David Taub has spent most of his career in journalism behind the scenes working as a TV assignment editor and radio producer. For more than a decade, he has worked in the Fresno market with such stops at KSEE-24, KMJ and Power Talk 96.7. Taub also worked the production and support side of some of TV sports biggest events including the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals and NASCAR to name a few. Taub graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email